Father Concerned About His Daughter In College Who Hasn't Made A Friend Since Middle School Solicits Advice
We all want our children to succeed and it hurts to see them struggle. Especially through difficult and transitionary periods in life. We want the best for our kids.
u/_sad_dad_ is one such struggling parent. He told us about his daughter and asked for some advice:
Me [60 M] with my daughter [19 F], she hasn't had a single friend since middle school and I am starting to get worried
Hi, I hope this is the right subreddit to post in. I browse reddit occasionally, but this is my first time posting.
I'll get right to the point: my daughter "Mia" has not made a single friend since middle school, and she is now entering her sophomore year of college. Before you ask, no it is not by choice. but I'll talk about that later.
"Mia" was very popular in middle school, she went out with friends every other day and attended a lot of parties. Ultimately, it got out of hand. Mia was drinking a lot, and while I drank a little underage, she was out of control. She never did hard drugs, but some of her friends did. When one of them OD'd, it was a wake up call for Mia and she got her act together. Unfortunately, this meant cutting out all of her former friends, and she entered high school alone.
Now I don't know what went on in high school, if she was bullied or just ignored, but she came home almost every day because she had to eat lunch and do projects by herself. This broke my heart. Mia is a very sweet girl, but she can come off as shy and perhaps a little odd at times. She claims she put herself out there a lot, but still, no friends to speak of. No birthday parties, no after school hangouts, no facebook friends.
I was convinced that when she entered college things would change, but when we talk, she still cries and says she is alone, and that her coworkers exclude her whenever they go out after work.
I am worried for my daughter. She is very intelligent, pretty, and kind, but obviously something is going wrong here? She has a therapist already but what she needs is a friend and I don't know what I can do as her father. I am her only family, and I'm getting old now. What happens when I'm gone?
tl;dr: My daughter has no friends (I'm not sure why), it is upsetting her but I don't know what I can do to help.
Here were some of the answers and replies he got.
Damn. That's heartbreaking. The best thing I think you can do for her is to keep encouraging her therapy and joining social activities or even online communities and putting herself out there. And just keep loving her and being a listening ear. She doesn't have to be the belle of the ball, even one friend can be the One who changes everything, and that could happen at any time.
If Mia was popular during her party years, perhaps she didn't learn how to make/keep friends without the social lubricant of alcohol. As someone else suggested, joining clubs is great for meeting new people. I also wanted to add that it might help her if she could practice her social skills and connecting with other people in a low pressure situation. Volunteering at a retirement center can be great for this. You meet interesting people who are usually eager to have someone to talk to.
This is not meant to make your daughter out to be unusual. I have always had some friends, but I am socially awkward and at 19 had a lot of people shun me because I don't drink. A lot of socializing went on at parties where drugs and alcohol were present. It is very likely that Mia doesn't do those things because of what happened to her friends. If she is uncomfortable/unwilling to be part of those groups, then she is going to be excluded from going out with co-workers.
I don't drink or do drugs. So I went through HS not going to parties because of how things were. It will get better as people age, but 19 to 21 tend to be the "party ages" for a lot of teens. What I did was find friends who agreed with my lifestyle choices. If she is in college, then she should look for clubs that allow her to meet with people who share her interests (christian groups are sometimes good for this.) She just needs to look for people who share her interests, not expect everyone else to just like her. Which sucks.
I'm not sure what country you're in, but I would suggest looking into mentoring services (like Big Brothers Big Sisters). I worked for a similar organisation here in Australia and we had quite a lot of young people your daughters age who had been in similar situations and needed a friend. It's a really great way for her to be matched up with somebody who has a similar personality/interests to her and, at least when I did it, isn't unusual for people her age to do (especially when they've gone through what she went through as a young person).
It's usually quite a supported friendship and if your daughter has any concerns or issues on the way (cold feet, not sure how to relate, anxiety) you'll have a worker who is experienced with this stuff that will check in with her and help with that kind of thing. She should fit into the age bracket (she would here in Aus). I would highly recommend it! Lots of people her age do it and if she has a preference for the age of her new mate then she can indicate that kind of thing :)
Using my own experience, my advice would be that perhaps she could join a website/forum dedicated to something she's interested in and make some friends there?
I only say this because I'm 22 and I don't have many "real life" friends. Let's see.. One friend from high school and a few from my old workplace. I started uni at the start of this year and haven't made a single friend there yet, so I can definitely understand how she feels.
Having said that, I joined a gaming forum 5-6 years ago, and although the website has now dissipated, I made a number of strong friendships through it - I even met my now boyfriend there (friends for three years then started dating, going on two years now!) and I've made friends on online games and tumblr groups as well. She might not be into that kind of thing but I thought I'd share! I wish her well ☺️
I have a really hard time making friends. I have a handful, now, that are good, close friends...buuut they all live on the other side of the country. I was moving for grad school, though, and everybody told me I was so lucky, I'd be surrounded by all of these like-minded people and I'd make tons of friends.
I ended up using Bumble BFF to try and at least get chatting with a few girls in the area, and I ended up making two friends. One of them I see sporadically because she's really busy (but I'm seeing her today!). The other one knits once a week with a handful of different girls, and now I'm one of them. So I know that once a week, I get to see a group of girls, and I'm working on befriending more than just the original girl. It's hard, though. I have a hard time building up the individual relationships and making them actual friends instead of just my knitting group, but so far it's going okay.
Is your daughter artsy or craftsy at all? I find those communities of women are usually really awesome/welcoming/inviting and tend to be super friendly and encouraging with new people. It takes a while of just going to the craft days or whatever before you actually start to form the individual relationships, but it comes with time. Does your daughter have realistic expectations about how relationships are formed? I don't really drink, either, and it's hard to pace a relationship when you're only meeting up sober vs. when you're all drunk and giggling and spilling stories and doing "exciting" things.
Will she let you talk to her therapist?
Is she painfully shy?
Unfortunately a lot of kids her age WAIT for someone else to do the work of starting a friendship-so it just never happens.
Does she do anything besides go to classes-yoga/volunteering/anything? would she be willing to ask one or a few other group members to go for coffee after? She is going to need to start doing this if she wants friends.
Is she in any study groups-ask her group to go out for pizza after an exam. If she is not in a group had her start one-she can ask the people who sit next to her or on a fb page if the class has a fb page.
SO may kids wait for someone else to take th initiative-their reasoning is 'if they were interested THEY would ask me' so they are afraid of rejection if they reach out.
Result-a bunch of lonely kids all wishing someone else would see if they want to get coffee
Is she at all into science fiction/fantasy? If so, encourage her to join the college's science fiction club (assuming there is one). It's a home for misfits and socially awkward people (I say that as both a nerd and former sci-fi club member myself). In my experience nerds are very accepting and, if she's willing to just keep showing up, she will make friends.
If not sci-fi, then check out other clubs. At larger colleges/universities, it's very difficult to make friends. College clubs, which force interaction, can be a huge help.
I did not have very many friends in school. In fact I had one and in retrospect we were friends because we had nobody else to be friends with. We would read in the library next to each other and that made us best friends. My mother worried endlessly why I was friendless and she kept trying to push me into having more friends. This was if anything counter producing as I just felt like everyone knew I had no friends and therefore I got more awkward and shy and weird and people were probably like "thanks but no thanks".
For me the big change came in university where I suddenly had many more like minded people around me and I did make a lot of friends then. You say your daughter is in college and still struggling... does she have many hobbies? My hobbies certainly helped me and I picked up a bunch of new ones... is there anything that interests her but she has never tried?
I joined a roller derby team at some point and I have a lot of friends through there... does she like skating? Most cities have them and they are a great resource for people who are maybe a little different. It is very community based and fun, people of all walks of life find themselves there, often having been on the outskirts a bit and trying to find somewhere to fit in. I really highly recommend it. Most Fresh Meat programs take absolute beginners!
I had trouble making friends in college because I didn't know how to talk to strangers/random classmates. Then I joined the gaming club and I had an instant friend group of people that I could easily talk to because we had similar interests. I have a lot of friends now, but hey, I still am not friends with any of my coworkers because they tend to have very different interests from me. Encourage her to join a club and find people who may have things in common with her. I'm happy to speak with her directly if she could use a friend, I'm only 23 so my college experience was pretty recent.
We've all said something stupid, let's not lie to ourselves.
It's okay to say something stupid. It showcases the real person on the inside, that we're all flawed, imperfect, and made of cooky combinations of words that don't necessarily line up to make sense. Sometimes we're nervous in a situation, other times we're just hitting 'Quick Reply' in our brains and what comes out doens't work, but whatever the reason, you for sure are going to remember it, late at night, for the rest of your life.
What is the stupidest thing that ever came out of your mouth?
You may not have to change your home address because of these moments, but you should probably reconsider how many public outings you go to afterwards.
Should Probably Never Shop At That Store Again
"When the cashier said "Have a nice day", and I replied with "No, thanks".
"Background: I wasnt thinking straight that day, and thought they said "Do you want a bag"
That's. How. Twins. Work?
"Her: the twins are 3 years old"
"Me: Both of them?"
"Oh no this unearthed a memory i had buried from kindergarten lmao"
"We had a set of twins in our classroom and once on their birthday party I said "your brother got such a cool party, i hope yours is nice like this too" to one of them and he was like "yeah, this one"
"4 year old me was not a very bright kid"
That's. How. Death. Works...
"Watching the documentary 'The Last Dance' when a Kobe interview pops up -"
"Me: "Wow, they must have filmed this before Kobe died."
"My wife: "Yeah, obviously…."
The cringe comes out of nowhere, and you're not even sure how you were able to ask something so incredibly stupid, but here you are. Lounging in the stupid air.
You Should Have Asked What "Nothing" Tastes Like Next
"In my head I was wondering what one pound of water would look like in terms of volume. What I said out loud however was "How much does a pound of water weigh?"
Keep Up With Me
"A couple of months ago, I got up and drove to work as usual. Later, my girlfriend texted me from home to ask me if she had left her sunglasses in my car. I told her I wasn't sure, but she could grab my spare key and go check."
"In my car."
"Which I had driven to work."
Black Is White, White Is Black
"I don't understand why people place bets on who wins, why not just place bets on who loses?"
"Yeah took me a minute to register what I said..."
And then there's these stories, where the person is probably better off cutting off any human contact henceforth going forward. These are rough to get through, folks.
Should Probably Have A Chat With HR After This
"I was about 4 months into my current job, feeling confident being fresh off the contract-to-hire period, now moved into a coveted full time role. While walking back to my office from the morning kanban I was stopped by my boss, head peeking out of the office:"
"Boss: "Hey TheMediator, do you have a sec?"
"Me: "For you, I've got lots of secs!"
"Boss: wide-eyes, mouth dropped"
"If you're curious why this was incredibly stupid/embarrassing, try saying the phrase "lots of secs" out loud. Preferably, not to your boss though."
You Don't Need College Anymore. Go Home. Bury Your Head In The Sand.
"In my freshman year of college I was dorming next door to a couple cute girls. About a week into the first semester one girl walked from the coed showers to her dorm room in her towel still wet. We were both unlocking our doors to get in our rooms when she looks at me and says…"
"I know I look stunning…(sarcastically)"
"To which I replied, "don't flatter yourself."
"I had to slid a note under her door explaining I was tongue tied as she was beautiful and I meant to say "don't be hard on yourself, you look great." (Or something to that nature). We became good friends."
It's In The Descriptor?
"Chatting to a homeless guy on the street and he told me he was feeling unwell. I told him he should be at home, resting."
"It's been 20 years and the memory of it still brings me out in a cold sweat."
Oh Good Lord...
"Asked my friend how his mom was doing at his moms funeral."
"Jesus Christ this is the worst one on this thread. What was his response?"
"He looked at me and then the casket and kind of smirked. I awkwardly started to try and explain and just said "I'm an idiot. You know I love you. Talk to you in a bit." He makes fun of me now and I can't stop laughing. It's a positive painful memory."
Own up to your mistakes. You'll garner more respect by acknowledging the awkward things you say, however, it's perfectly fine to laugh about it in the moment. That's probably the easiest way to escape the deep, deep shame.
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The advice "fake it til you make it," though often said with at least a hint of sarcasm, does carry quite a bit of wisdom.
By simply putting one foot in front of the other, weathering the chaos of not knowing what's happening as you learn as fast as possible, we can find ourselves further than we expected.
Once we're there, reaping the fruits of all our "faking," we somehow begin to take on a new identity in people's eyes They assume we've always been in control and known what was going on. They defer to us for advice.
But that couldn't be further from the truth. So we keep on faking it.
Redditor espectro11 asked:
"What's your 'I don't know, I didn't think I'd get this far' moment?"
Many Redditors discussed their experiences navigating the intimidating environment of job applications, interviews, and offers.
Oh Right, Getting Paid
"I gave my resume to fancy private school (I'm a teacher, but new to the field) and I didn't expect a call back. But they called me today to ask my expected salary and I said 'I don't know what the average is. Let me Google it.' "
"Ya girl was not prepared."
"When I went for a walk-in interview looking like crap and they hired me on the spot. I get they were hiring for a new store, but they up and said 'if you want the job it's yours, when can you start?' "
"Deada** didn't think I'd make it that far."
Outside the Box
"Years ago I was applying to a bunch of copywriting jobs and feeling frustrated because I wasnt hearing back from any of the places I was applying to."
"It was especially frustrating because I was putting in all this time on cover letters and I felt like nobody was even reading them, so I said, 'Fu** it, I'm gonna write one that is more me.' I thought it was a dumb idea and never imagined that it would work, but somehow it did."
"I applied with this cover letter and the subject line "Copywriter: Will Work for Beer" to a job that I was very underqualified for. It managed to catch the eye of the headhunter for the ad agency and was enough to get me an interview. Shortly after that I was hired and ended up working there for a few years, but I remember thinking on my first day, 'I can't believe that actually worked.' "
Just Not the Right Fit
"An interview at Google. The 20 years younger than me was describing the peer review system."
"I responded with 'Jesus, that sounds awful.' "
"I did not get the job."
Others also shared experiences that centered on their working lives. But these stories weren't about being hired or interviewed.
These were accounts of long-developing success stories that they never would have predicted.
A Winding Road
"My entire legal career"
"I have four degrees and a 10 year career in commerical litigation. I just wrapped up a $200mil trusts lawsuit."
"I started at uni doing theatre and stand up comedy. I have no fu**ing idea where I turned to get here."
"Started at a very small company doing sales straight out of college. I went about messaging big corporate players (who obviously would never do business with us since our size) and was laughed at by my new colleagues for even trying."
"2 weeks later My boss was asking me what we (a team of 6) should say on the conference call with Toshiba Buyers."
Putting Fires Out
"Me at work. I feel like every issue that comes up has me unprepared. But I am always praised for my good work."
"So, I assume I have imposter syndrome and keep doing what I am doing."
So next time you find yourself ruling a possibility out completely, maybe take just a few seconds to imagine it actually occurred and prepare.
You just never know.
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I'm going to be perfectly honest––I'm a city boy. I'm not a huge fan of hiking or camping. I happen to be a huge fan of running water. Have you heard of it? It's great. Highly recommended.
I've also, on a more humorous note, watched far too many horror films over the years and don't particularly like idea of running off into the woods only to piss off some demon that was perfectly fine until I arrived. I also have immense respect for our friendly neighborhood serial killers and demonstrate this regularly by staying out of their territory.
Those who love the great outdoors had plenty to share after Redditor Your_Normal_Loser asked the online community, "
Hikers of Reddit, what is the weirdest or creepiest thing you've come across while hiking?"
"The only reason..."
"When we were exploring the Australian Outback as university students, my friend and I found an old, tightly wrapped plastic bag with five or six damaged wallets along shrubbery at the base of a cliff.
The only reason we opened it up was because we were so remote - hundreds of kilometres from any town or tourist attraction - that it was strange to see garbage out there. All the cards were in female names and birthdates placed them in their late teens to early 20s. Some lived in the Northern Territory but one was in Sydney and another from Queensland. At the time we figured rock climbers must have stored their valuables in the bag and then lost track of it. I'll never forget the strange look the police officer gave us when we handed them in."
You see... this is why I wouldn't go mess around in the Australian Outback.
I also may or may not have watched Wolf Creek one too many times.
"A recliner on a small hill with a hole dug out in the middle and water bottles all over the place."
"A trashed campsite..."
"A trashed campsite complete with the tent cut open...
...do you report these things, or what?"
Or maybe not... you might want to turn back.
"The walls were completely plastered..."
"I was walking in a thick forest and came across an opening. In the center there was a shack made of lumber, with a bench built into it that was slightly leaned back.
The walls were completely plastered in porn."
Well... that's one way to get off.
"The man stopped talking..."
"I was backpacking with a few friends. A few days in the middle of nowhere, a man approached our camp as we were cooking dinner to say hi. We talked about our routes for a few minutes. Out of nowhere, he told us that he had had a vasectomy in his 30s after his 2nd child. Then somehow his wife had gotten pregnant with his 3rd child. He didn't believe this was possible, so he demanded a DNA test to see if he was actually the father. He was. Still, he explained that he had his doubts and thought that his wife must have fixed the DNA test.
My friends and I were in our 20s and had no idea why this guy was telling us this. We all just nodded and smiled.
The man stopped talking and then just walked away into the night."
"I stepped in..."
"I stepped in and fell over a cow carcass on a night hike. It was a bright moonlit night but I didn't see it in the shadows. Thankfully it was mostly dry."
"We still have no idea..."
"I was in the woods with three friends at night. A friend's house was nearby and I was getting hungry so I went inside to find some food. Another friend came inside with me. Two friends were still outside.
Later on, one of the two who outside came in and sees the indoor friend on the couch next to me. They panic and immediately run back outside.
I poke my head out the door asking what's going on, only to hear them yell as loudly as they can, "THAT'S NOT KEVIN"
Everyone comes inside and calms down a bit, and the story comes out. They thought the friend who was indoors with me (Kevin) had been outside with them this entire time. Why? Because in the darkness of the woods they saw a silhouette about the same height walking alongside them silently, then at some point it ran away and they were chasing it thinking Kevin was running off for some reason. The reason my friend yelled, "That's not Kevin" was to stop the last outdoor friend from chasing whoever was out there deeper into the woods.
We still have no idea who that was or why they didn't even speak."
This story sent a chill running down my spine.
Who was that?!
Perhaps figuring it out would be even scarier.
"Went hiking with my dad..."
"Went hiking with my dad one day over a ridge. A girl from the group in front of us tripped and slid down one side and was just able to hold on to the tiniest branch from the only tree around. Had she slid down all the way she certainly would be dead or massively injured!"
"I was trying to make my way across..."
"I was hiking in Washington sometime in December. I was trying to make my way across a river but the bridge was out. I was walking along the shore looking for a shallow spot but couldn't find one. I saw some footprints leading down the bank, my thought was that someone was trying to do what I was doing and decided to track the prints to see if they crossed. It was not easy but I followed the prints for about a mile. As I approached what looked like a crossing I heard a loud BANG like a stick hitting a tree. I froze for a few seconds and heard no other noises. I just slowly back up keeping my eyes on the other side of the river. Could not shake the feeling that I was being watched. Got the hell out of there quick as I could."
There are few feelings creepier than the feeling of being watched. It makes you feel like you've been violated in some way.
Thankfully you got out of there!
"I thought it was a magical, beautiful moment..."
"I was hiking with some friends, and I saw a cluster of butterflies on the ground. I thought it was a magical, beautiful moment until I realized they were congregating on a pool of blood. It turns out that someone had been hiking on the bluffs above earlier that day, and had fallen off and died."
Sooo... still want to go hiking or camping? None of this changed your mind? None of it?
It was nice knowing you. I'll stick with my running water.
Have some creepy stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
Have some experiences of your own? Have you also survived the hospitality industry? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!
Time is of the essence. And time is not definable. Those are lessons we learn as we get older; as times passes and fluctuates in front of us.
Time is always fleeting yet always catches up to us. I find myself shocked when I wake up on certain days and realize I'm a particular age of my parent that sticks out for me.
Like, how did that happen? I guess I should just be thankful I'm still here to witness it all.
Redditor u/TW1103 wanted to discuss the meaning... of time and all of its affects by asking:
What fact really puts the scale of time into an insane perspective?
Ok, who is watching the clock? Those seconds aren't going to count themselves. The only way to understand time is to be its witness. Although that can get depressing. Let's focus on the light and cool.
History...Calculate Figure It Out GIF by OriginalsGiphy
"If you are an 80-year-old American, you have lived through approximately 1/3 of our nation's entire history."
"The 80s were 40 years ago."
"This is what messes me up because I was born in 82 and graduated high school in 2000 so for some reason my brain is stuck on the 80's being twenty years ago. The 70's thirty years ago etc etc. I have to stop and realize sometimes that my concept of how long ago things happened is way off."
Time goes by...
"We observe that light travels at 186,000 miles a second, but given the vast size of the observable universe, that's a snail's pace. But from the point of view of a particle of light, time doesn't even exist."
"Time slows down as you approach the speed of light, and theoretically stops completely when you reach the speed of light."
Years Gone By...
"MLK Jr. and Anne Frank were born in the same year."
"Betty White was born in 1922. Automatically pre-sliced packaged bread loaves became commercially available in 1928. Betty White is six years older than sliced bread."
Long Live the Queen!queen elizabeth images GIFGiphy
"The queen and Marilyn Monroe would've been the same age."
I swear Liz is going to outlive dirt. Wait, I believe she already has. Well she won't be alone, she'll have Betty White. At least she better have Betty. Time is nothing without Queen Betty.
TV TimeSeason 2 Omg GIF by Paramount+Giphy
"Happy Days was a TV show made in the 1970s-80s about teenagers in the 1950s. Similarly, That 70s Show was made in the 90s-00s about teenagers in the 70s. If a similar show were to be made today, it would be about teenagers in the 2000s."
"If a T-Rex imagined a creature as ancient as the T-Rex is to us, it would be a Stegosaurus. If that Stegosaurus imagined a creature as ancient as the Stegosaurus is to us, it would be a Crocodile. If that Crocodile imagined a creature as ancient as that Crocodile is to us, it would be a Shark."
On the Clock
"On a twenty four hour clock the amount of time that humans have been on the earth would total around five seconds."
"How about this one: If Homo Habilus first appeared at midnight, 24 hours ago, that means the first Homo Sapiens appeared at 9:25 PM, or about 2 and a half hours ago. The first human civilization, in lower Mesopotamia, appeared at 11:57 PM, or about 3 minutes ago."
"The Western Roman Empire fell at 11:59 PM, or 1 minute ago. Everything that has happened since - the Crusades, the Plague, the discovery of the New World, the world wars, all of it - has happened in the last minute of human existence."
And that's just OUR Sun...
"The span of our lives are so insignificantly small that our Sun will last another 5 billion years. That's 9 zeros people. Our eldest live to around 100 in the best places. That's 50,000,000 (50 million) times longer than any person can reasonably expect to live. And that's just OUR Sun. The universe as a whole has probably existed for magnitudes longer than that already and will continue to exist until the end of time as we know it."
Tell Me a Storywilliam shakespeare GIF by will herringGiphy
"We know what a good storyteller Shakespeare was but there were Greek playwrights who wrote shows nearly 2,000 years earlier that are pretty good, too."
I hate time. Only because I'm petty and irritated of the amount I squandered. That's neither here nor there though. Time marches on and continues to amaze. I'll keep watching.
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